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Ushering in a New Era of Tech Training

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Training's New Reality: Augmented reality training concepts, like that of Bosch Automotive Solutions above, help technicians interact with repair information in a simple way.

The average person remembers 10 percent of what they read, 20 percent of what they hear, 30 percent of what they see and 50 percent of what they see and hear, according to Edgar Dale's Cone of Experience. Augmented reality (AR) is taking this information and making the most of it by using visual information to change the way that people are trained, says Rob Butz, director of business development for the technical information services segment of Bosch Automotive Service Solutions. 

For those who are not familiar with AR, Butz says that most people have seen it on a weekly basis when they watch football. AR is used to display the line that comes up on the screen to mark the distance needed for a first down. Information that is laid over an existing image, like the line over the football field, is being used increasingly to improve training methods within the automotive aftermarket and increase shop efficiency, Butz explains. Bosch’s booth at AAPEX  last year demonstrated some of the ways that this technology can be used to change the way repairs are performed. 

AR works by pointing a mobile device with the necessary technology at the designated area of a vehicle. The user can select the application desired—whether it be repair instructions, wiring harnesses, component locations or wire diagrams—and the information will superimpose onto the live image. 

Butz estimates that AR packaging for mobile devices will not be available for purchase for independent shops for another few years, but the revolutionary technology is something that shop owners should pay attention to as a way to more effectively train their technicians and run their shops.  


How will shop owners benefit from using AR in their shops? 

The division that I work in is focused on automation and efficiency, and we see AR as an enhancement for shops. AR takes computer-generated data and lays that information over a real product. AR would enable shop workers to see all of the information that they need. Using AR, shop workers can take a photo with their mobile devices and then AR will lay over the necessary information, such as the location of components and repair procedures. 


How exactly will the AR application work?

The application is downloaded to a device, or the device can access the information via a server. Once the application is launched, the user will navigate through the content, including a selection area for the vehicle. The navigation will differ depending on the application that the user is trying to use. When an augmentation is available, the user simply points the device at the vehicle and the related information is displayed over the vehicle.  


How can AR be used to train technicians more effectively? 

We’ve seen that AR is a more efficient way of training technicians. Based on studies, using AR is a more effective way to train technicians because they will retain a significant amount more of the information that is presented to them if it’s delivered in a visual way. 

An example of how we envision AR being used to train technicians is by providing information on equipment. Technicians would be able to point their device at pieces of equipment and information would pop up on how to use the equipment and service it. 


Besides the training benefits, what are the advantages of using AR in a shop? 

It will cut down on the time it takes to do repairs. Using AR can help technicians find components faster. It will be especially helpful for complicated removal and replacement procedures because it will allow technicians to visually see where things are located. Based on studies that we’ve done at Bosch, we’ve seen that it can increase efficiency anywhere from 15–20 percent. 

There are customer service benefits to it as well. AR can be used to actually show customers what is going on with his or her car and can also be used to show them through the repair process. Being able to see things visually will mean more to the customer than a verbal explanation. 


How long before you think AR will become common in independent repair shops? 

We feel that it will become more commonplace as the market continue to engage in it. Europe has been ahead of the game, and the U.S. is picking up on it over the past year and a half. We anticipate some type of release mid-2017. However, we believe that the impact could be sooner depending on the use.


How do you envision it being presented to indy shops? 

When we begin to release this to independent shops, it will likely be available for purchase. The purchase models could be similar to existing service content models or possibly by use per vehicle. The applications could also be integrated with other solutions and available as part of a complete service package. 


What are the latest applications in AR that the industry should keep its eyes open for? 

Bosch is releasing a rescue assist app with Daimler. When someone is in a serious crash, a team goes out to assist the vehicle owner. This application will enable rescue teams to look and identify components that may be dangerous and have the potential to harm the driver or the rescuers. The application has been developed for 30 or so vehicles.

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